The EESC issues between 160 and 190 opinions and information reports a year.
It also organises several annual initiatives and events with a focus on civil society and citizens’ participation such as the Civil Society Prize, the Civil Society Days, the Your Europe, Your Say youth plenary and the ECI Day.
The EESC brings together representatives from all areas of organised civil society, who give their independent advice on EU policies and legislation. The EESC's326 Members are organised into three groups: Employers, Workers and Various Interests.
The EESC has six sections, specialising in concrete topics of relevance to the citizens of the European Union, ranging from social to economic affairs, energy, environment, external relations or the internal market.
In several Eastern and Southern EU countries there is a steady flow of young people leaving their hometowns to find work in distant cities. This is a worrisome trend. An ever-increasing global food demand will require in the near future that all agricultural surfaces be cultivated. Temporarily setting aside a field is one thing; letting decay the surrounding infrastructure (often built over decades) that makes possible sustainable, profitable farming is something very different. To abandon large production areas (or to leave them up for grabs to foreign, corporate investors) is a luxury that the EU cannot afford.
The concentration of economic activity in urban areas is not sustainable in the long term. On the one hand, it puts a considerable stress on natural resources (air, water, soil) at the risk of impairing the quality of life of city dwellers.
In order to attach young workers to their rural territories, or to bring them back if they are already gone, the availability of good job opportunities is a necessary condition but not a sufficient one. Education and health services, ICT links, even cultural activities have to reach a minimum level that makes living in these places not only acceptable but indeed attractive. Since almost all EU policies are affected, a transversal, across-the-board approach is required that includes this territorial dimension as a permanent sustainability concern in every policy planning.